The Ode was written early in 1980 as a tribute for Peter Pears’s 70th birthday in June of that year. It is a serenade-like piece and plays continuously, though falling into three main movements with an epilogue.
The first movement (andante) twice alternates flowing strings with pastoral winds; then turns through running figures to a dark and troubled return of the opening, rising at its climax to a vision of the ‘Sick Rose’ of Britten and Blake. The next movement is adagio, at first calm, later impassioned. Then follows a scherzo, very fast and empty until it suddenly froths up and fills out at the end. The epilogue returns to the first movement (untroubled version) and winds down into a horn-motif, also out of Britten/Pears, from which the whole work has, closely or loosely, derived.
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer
This single-movement pastoral was commissioned in honour of Peter Pears’s seventieth birthday and weaves into the music motifs and memories of music associated with that great artist. As so often with Holloway’s music, the single movement encompasses three integrated sections – a fast opening that becomes quite agitated, then a calm and slow section and a light and airy scherzo – followed by an Epilogue that sums up all that Hardy’s – and Britten’s – tenor-man told us.
Repertoire Note by Peter Marchbank